- An unhealthy and imbalanced diet can trigger inflammation and lead to inefficient brain function.
- Eating foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients can improve brain function and ease and prevent anxiety.
- Your gut health can affect your mental health.
The National Institute of Mental Health states that one-third of Americans will suffer from prolonged anxiety at some point in their lives.
Symptoms of anxiety include the following:
- trouble sleeping
- worrying about everyday things
- difficulty concentrating
- digestive issues
Inflammation has been found to trigger anxiety, and new research suggests that besides therapy, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is essential in easing inflammation and managing anxiety.
Here’s how inflammation affects our mental health and emotions:
- Chronic inflammation alters brain communication and neurotransmitter functioning, affecting mood, emotional reactions, and memory.
- Changes in brain communication can trigger symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
- An unhealthy diet and lifestyle reduce the brain’s efficiency to communicate correctly and produce essential neurotransmitters.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods can supply the brain with specific nutrients that may help improve anxiety symptoms.
Here are eight anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet:
Having low levels of magnesium can increase your risk of anxiety and depression, and eating almonds is an excellent way to increase your magnesium intake. Cashews, peanuts, and leafy greens like spinach and beans are also excellent sources of magnesium.
Eggs are high in protein and choline, an anti-inflammatory nutrient found in acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter involved in memory and mood. Eggs also contain other anti-inflammatory nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc, which help improve brain communication.
Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA can ease neuroinflammation in the brain and enhance neuron communication. You can get these fatty acids from fish that are high in fat, like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and sea bass. You also get these fatty acids from fish oil supplements, but no research has found if they are work as effectively as seafood.
Gut health affects the development of inflammation, which also affects the risk of mental health issues like anxiety. Improve your gut health by consuming food with “good” bacterial strains to block inflammatory compounds from entering the body, and decrease your anxiety. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, and dairy products containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus are excellent sources of probiotics.
Asparagus extract is used in China to ease anxiety. According to some theories, the folate found in the vegetable helps produce certain neurotransmitters. Asparagus is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene that help reduce neuron inflammation.
A low antioxidant level is associated with anxiety and depression. Blueberries are rich in polyphenolic compounds that act as antioxidants. These compounds protect the brain cells from free radicals, promote efficient cognitive functioning, and relieve neuroinflammation.
Recent studies show that leafy greens like spinach contain high levels of nutrients and minerals, including folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and beta carotene. These nutrients ease inflammation, ward off oxidative stress, and boost mental health.
Lean Animal Proteins
Vitamins B6 and B12 are essential in producing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for mood and brain function. Lean animal proteins like beef, pork, and chicken contain Vitamins B6 and B12, as well as zinc and the antioxidant selenium that also improve brain health.
Source: Eating Well